Airports are served daily by dozens of ground transportation fleets operating thousands of vehicles for everything from ground service equipment used to tug, tow and transport baggage to landside vehicles that transport passengers to and from and within the airport. Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) is well on its way to completely converting ground fleets to alternative fuel vehicles at its three airports – Los Angeles International Airport (LAX); LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT) in Ontario, Calif.; and Van Nuys Airport (VNY) in Van Nuys, Calif.
LAWA now has more than 648 alternative fuel vehicles, representing more than 63 percent of its total ground transportation fleet. LAX now has 557 vehicles powered by fuels other than gasoline or diesel, and ONT and VNY have 67 and 24 alternative fuel vehicles, respectively. By far the largest airport, LAX is reaching its goal of becoming gasoline and diesel free with 72 percent of the ground fleet converted to alternative fuels. ONT is at 31 percent, and VNY is at 59 percent.
LAWA’s new vehicles represent an array of alternative fuels including liquefied natural gas (LNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), compressed natural gas (CNG), electric and hybrid electric. LAX’s entire fleet of 61 courtesy shuttle buses is powered by CNG and LNG. These buses transport passengers to and from the terminals from outlying parking areas and the Metro Rail Green Line. Electric shuttle buses are among the diverse mix transporting passengers around LAX, and CNG-powered vehicles also include pickup trucks, utility trucks, street sweepers, recycling collection vehicles and baggage transporters.
LAX already has an on-site LNG and CNG fueling station for LAWA-owned vehicles. In addition, there is a privately-owned public CNG and hydrogen fueling station adjacent to LAX. An additional alternative fuel filling station is currently under construction and scheduled for completion by the end of 2011. Meanwhile, ONT is also constructing a CNG fueling station on airport property. LAX also offers free electric charging stations available in two of its parking structures to encourage greater usage of electric vehicles.
Alternative fuels conversion has been a pillar for future growth at LAWA since the policy was originally adopted in 1993. In addition to vehicles owned by the LAWA airports, the plan also requires conversion of rental car company courtesy shuttles, trucks and other large vehicles and tenant-owned ground equipment that service aircraft.
Moreover, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9 is helping the LAWA alternative fuels conversion efforts with an education campaign. As a primary focus of its alternative fuel vehicles project, Region 9 developed the “Guide to Ground Transportation at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)” to educate travelers about the alternative fuel vehicle options for getting to and from LAX.